Bear Trap Creek

9 Mar

It is March and with that comes everyone’s longing for Spring. The days are already getting longer and the temperature is rising… and for anyone who lives north of  37 degrees latitude the opportunity to leave the white stuff behind for a few months is almost too much to handle.

For the last week I have been jonesin’ to hit a river and go fly fishing. Which is funny, because as Mrs. Pickle would attest I have not been the most avid fisherman in my life. But lately I really have been wanting to pick it back up, often. I blame impending fatherhood for these renegade notions. See, each day this baby gets a little bit closer to joining our family, and things I learned as a young boy comes flooding back to me as necessities to teach my son. Fishing is near the top of that list.

When I was young my family would spend at least a weekend each year in the mountains of Wyoming. Each year the guys would take off and head to the little streams that ran past our campground. The streams never yielded any fish that would make the pages of Field & Stream, but drop in a worm and it was no time until had some small brook trout dangling off the end. It was here, on Doyle Creek specifically, where I caught my first fish. It is funny how the mind remembers certain things because I could have been no older than 6 and yet I can see it clear as day.

Another favorite fishing hole of mine was an old creek that ran through a sheepherder’s summer meadow high in the Big Horns — Bear Trap Creek. We usually went there during that weekend of camping, and as even that tradition of camping wore out we would make time to spend on Saturday each year on that water. In a word the area was gorgeous. Grassy knolls, mountains all around, and nothing except an old wooden corral that seemed to breakdown a little more each year. As a boy I used to have the goal of simply not getting wet. I remember the first time I came back to the truck with not even a wet sock, I was 13. The stream meandered for miles, though we only fished from the corral to a large rock that formed the penultimate pool. My brother and I loved to climb that rock just because it was so huge, and wait for Dad and Grandpa and Uncle Larry to finish fishing. As we aged that rock became much smaller to the point that the last time we visited I hopped onto the rock with ease. Funny how things change.

As the years pass, it becomes more and more difficult to get back up there to Bear Trap. In fact it’s been a few years since I last walked down the creek, hopping from side to side, catching more fish than we ever needed. I have no pictures from those trips, but the memories are still strong. These days I wish it were as simple as gathering up my Dad, Grandpa, and brother and head up the mountain to hit Bear Trap Creek one more time. I would love to be able to take Nolan up there, and though I doubt my Grandpa could make the trip with us, maybe we’ll make memories of our own. It’s possible we’ll never get to go back to Bear Trap Creek; maybe we’ll find our own water and fishery down here in Colorado.

Fishing is more than just tossing a line into a piece of water. It is much more of an art. It teaches life lessons, like appreciating pure silence and having patience, persistence. Qualities I myself have forgotten though still have time to re-learn. Qualities I hope to instill in my son. It’s time to get fishing.



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